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Arka Chattopadhyay Reviews The Kolkata Cadence: Contemporary Kolkata Poets

"Despite the difference in consonants (K and C), what gives sonorous consonance to 'The Kolkata Cadence' is the resonating 'K' sound that binds the city with the tonality of poetry. The first syllable of 'cadence', 'ca' shares a part of the first syllable of the city's previous name: 'Ca'-lcutta. How do the poetic rhythms relate to the city they emerge from? How do they recreate the city through their imaginative pulsations? This new anthology of contemporary 21st century poets from Kolkata, edited by Jagari Mukherjee, Inam Hussain Mullick and Anindita Bose is replete with the local colours of a regional practice of poetry in a language that connects it with the rest of the country and the world. As the editors suggest in their reflections, these poems are soaked in the sensoriality of the city's varied aesthetic culture. 

A city like Kolkata has had a sedimented cultural and aesthetic history of multiple languages. The English language has a specific historical place in the city's colonial past. How does English represent the plurality of languages and voices that are at work in this anthology? How do these poems interact with the Bengali poems written from and about Kolkata? These are significant questions thrown open by this diverse and rich volume. In a time when world literature has become more local than ever to reach out to the 'world' in the 'globe', this anthology will become an important archive to contemplate how the vernacular and the English-language literary histories bleed into one another."

Arka Chattopadhyay

Academic and Creative Writer 


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